M. Tullius Cicero was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, and political theorist. His life coincided with the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. Given his status, he played a significant role in the events of his time. In addition to his famous speeches and his works of rhetoric and philosophy, Cicero was also a prodigious letter writer. Today, his hundreds of surviving letters offer a vivid portrait of Roman politics and culture, as well as Cicero’s personal perspectives.
This collection encompasses Cicero’s correspondence with his family, friends, and acquaintances, spanning from the peak of his political career to the years leading up to his death. The letters provide an authentic portrait of Cicero, reflecting both his private and public life. Much of his correspondence was written in the moment—the writing style casual and the content personal. Other letters, addressed to public figures, exhibit Cicero’s rhetorical prowess. The Letters of Cicero provides a window into the life of one of Rome’s greatest orators, as well as a significant period in history.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each text is included in its original Latin, with an English translation for side-by-side comparison. Use Logos’ language tools to go deeper into the Latin text with linked translations, definitions, and pronunciation tools. You can also use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult English words. Quick and easy access to maps and charts, as well as definitions and lexical information, allows you to follow Cicero’s correspondence like never before.
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M. Tullius Cicero (106–43 BC) was born to a family of the equestrian class in Ardinum. Cicero’s father was an influential man in the community who placed great emphasis on education. Cicero was educated by his father and then by private teachers who instructed him in Greek oratory and philosophy. Cicero studied Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. After winning his first case, Cicero left Rome to visit Greece, Asia Minor, and Rhodes. While in Greece, Cicero studied rhetoric with a number of famous rhetoricians in Athens. Upon his return to Rome, he became quite involved in political life. He ascended the Roman hierarchy, becoming a quaestor at age 31, an aedile at 37, a praetor at 40 and, at 43, a consul—the highest office. For a time, he was exiled for executing a group of Roman citizens without a trial, after they plotted to kill him and overthrow the Republic. Upon his return, Cicero was caught up in the standoff between Julius Caesar and the senate. When civil war broke out, Cicero took the side of the Republic (against Caesar), though he attempted to maintain some good will with Caesar. After Caesar’s assassination, Cicero fell out with Mark Antony. This culminated in Antony orchestrating Cicero’s murder.
E. O. Winstedt (1880–January 29, 1955) was a scholar of the Latin language. He also studied the life and culture of the Romani people.
W. Glynn Williams was formerly a fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and headmaster of Friars School, Bangor, UK.
M. Cary was formerly professor of ancient history at the University of London.